In 2008, the company closed more than 70 percent of its underperforming locations, leaving only 23 Starbucks stores throughout the entire continent. Which really isn’t that many compared to other markets. No one can scoff at a successful international café chain like us Aussies. It seems when the chain launched in Australia it didn’t take local coffee drinkers long to realise that an Orange Mocha Frappuccino is really not something they wanted to be drinking regularly.
Starbucks might be good for the free Wi-Fi and power outlets when travelling overseas, but when looking for a true Australian café experience, we tend to look elsewhere.
Let’s face it, Australians take our coffee and our brunches very seriously. And with good reason – Australian cafes are among the best in the world. It’s no surprise then that Australian cafes are not only starting to pop up in America, Asia and Europe; but are doing incredibly well. Melbourne institution Hardware Societe has opened a second venue in Paris, a café in New York has gone as far as to call itself Little Collins (in honour of the Melbourne lane) and Aussies are keeping students happy by the hoards in Singapore at places like Common Man Coffee Roasters.
So why are Aussie cafes becoming the template for a great venue all over the world? We explore the five reasons that make our cafes thrive.
A good Aussie café…
…serves the classics (and a twist)
Smashed avo, corn fritters and granola are all mainstays of the Australian brunch menu (which should always be an all-day menu by the way), alongside any number of egg offerings (baked, fried, scrambled, poached, benedict) and something a bit more adventurous or healthy like a ‘Buddha Bowl’ or breakfast salad.
…has excellent coffee
Australia is at the cutting edge of sourcing, roasting and brewing specialty coffee with everything from filter to single origin to the humble flat white. Cafes take their coffee very seriously, and baristas aren’t considered someone who is just filling in time between jobs.
…has a neighbourhood vibe
The best cafes are embedded in their neighbourhoods and take their ‘vibe’ from the people around them. If their customers are all activewear-wearing weekend warriors looking for a post-jog brunch, the café moulds to suit. A big part of the neighbourhood vibe is also the communal table, something that isn’t as common overseas. Perhaps it’s a big low table for lounging or a high table with stools where you can perch and read the paper, bring your laptop or get stuck into a book. Communal tables help cafes portray that it is okay to be alone in public.
…is usually a local affair
Most successful cafes are local and personal – they are small businesses run by local entrepreneurial people. The barista knows the regulars’ names (and orders) and the waiters will seat you at your favourite table. They support local events and promote other businesses.
In America, before the surge of Aussie style cafes, brunch was reserved for the upper class, a classy affair often served with champagne. Back home, brunch means eating delicious food without spending a whole pay cheque. It has become a small indulgence that everyone can allow themselves every now and again.
It’s not all about the smashed avo – great Aussie cafes have a lot more going on behind the scenes. Does your café fit the true Australian café experience? Perhaps we missed something? We’d love to hear your feedback! Visit us on Facebook or contact us here.